We have had a Roadside Hawk here for a month now. He came in after being hit by a car and his wing and leg were completely shattered. Usually the decision would've been made to euthanize on the spot. However, the people who brought him here were willing to help with vet bills and build him an outdoor enclosure on their property since he would not be releasable. The first time I met them I was very put off. They couldn't quite understand what my purpose was for being here, I mean there's a vet so what exactly do I do was their question. I basically felt like a pile of garbage after that little interaction.
Fast forward two or three weeks. They come by and see how well he is doing. They are super nice to me and seem grateful I am there to take care of our friend.
Fast forward to today.
Actually back track.....two days ago the hawk started going downhill really fast. The vet came, I talked to rehabbers in the states looking for advice, thanks Monteen btw, I force fed him, we put him back on antibiotics, I was getting up in the middle of the night and going to check on him etc. So today the vet comes again and so do the people. At first they are nice although they keep asking me the same questions over and over again "was he eating before?" "When did he stop eating?" "This just happened? you didn't notice anything wrong?" etc. etc. But they still seemed hopeful and said maybe he was just depressed or sad. They kept petting him which I never understand. No matter how many times you tell someone that wild birds don't like to be touched it's always their instinct to pet and console them.
Then the vet arrives. We give him a bunch of vitamins, fluids, food, antibiotics, everything we can think of. I walk away to feed the other birds, the vet says she has to go, then the people come up and ask for their carrier they had left. Fine, ok, I go in to grab it and the woman is there obviously quite upset and I say to her through tears of my own " I am really really sorry." Now generally this is the part where I get some sort of " I know you did the best you could" or "At least we tried" etc. Instead she looks at me with the most disappointed look I'd ever seen and says "So am I." They walk out and thank the vet and give her a check to help her cover costs. Not only did they not give a donation to CASA, the place that has been caring for the bird for a month, they didn't even thank me or say goodbye. It was terribly disheartening.
I went to my room and cried, I mean really cried. I mean I understand being upset, I really do, but did they ever take my feelings into consideration? I cared for this little guy for a month. They get to leave and be sad, I am here checking on him once an hour giving him fluids wondering if he will survive the night. As a rehabber it is terribly painful to lose an animal. No matter how many times it happens I sit back and look at every detail and wonder if I should've done something different. Sometimes I randomly shed a tear for an animal i lost years ago. But I do the best that I can and that's all I can do. Sometimes I don't know what people expect from me.
Blah, and that was my vent for the day.
To everyone out there who has cared for an injured animal, I admire you for making it look so easy